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71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex but spectacular, 11 Jan 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Order of Things: Archaeology of the Human Sciences (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
The order of things is complex, and Foucault's writing style fluctuates between the need for re-reading a paragraph at least twice to understand it to whole chapters virtually reading themselves. The central plank of the book is how language, work, and life are preceived through his three epistemes or ages - of before the sixteenth century, c1650-1800 (the classical period), and post-late eighteenth-century. Foucault's 'episteme' sees him set out to find and articulate the 'perimeter', the outerlimits of the ways people can perceive things at a given time. It is a hard read, as should be expected for a book on the order of all things, but a work of complete genius.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightenment Excavated, 30 Aug 2012
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K. R. Donnan "Kieran Donnan" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Order of Things: Archaeology of the Human Sciences (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
Though a difficult text to manage and ridden with complexity, points of internal anxiety, and even requiring some knowledge derived from elsewhere, Foucault's text is an excavation on the order of symbols and the categories of thought which the Classical era brought, especially to Western Europe. Rather than a direct, localised understanding of human history, Foucault's text serves to abstract and dissolve certain concrete concepts which are established within social convention and structure. By looking at several means of symbolism including the meaning implied by Miguel de Cervantes' "Don Quixote", Foucault gives his archaeology of thought a certain cultural relevance, and a certain sense of humanity trying to reach beyond itself, into new symbols which defy the physical restrictions before it. His impetus, a certain undisclosed work by Jorge Luis Borges, is also very curious. A Spanish poet and novelist inspired by latent depth and complexity, and the work of the earliest and most pivotal philosopher of the enlightenment, Benedict de Spinoza, the intention running beneath the challenging text is quite clear: Foucault seeks like one of his several inspirations, Friedrich Nietzsche (the champion of freethinking in the nineteenth century), to uncover certain latent potentials underlying the rigid organisation of human thought.

The text does not represent hypothesis as much as it does represent discovery, and Foucault keeps a consistent academic tone within his writing. His purpose is clear: to create a set of instruments and precise tools of criticism and thought for certain modes of thinking about knowledge as containment, knowledge as something quite distinct from actual human thought and understanding. Though Foucault's book is academic in tone, it's focus and aim are clearly social and in the interests of releasing certain folds of thought which are currently hidden by the apparent limitations of knowledge. As Foucault says, knowledge isn't for knowing, it is for cutting. The suggestion of the book is clear: that knowledge itself is not the relevant objective, or the categorisation or ordering of knowledge. Rather, Foucault desires to point to the origin of human thought, and the hidden areas of perspective, which he highlights in the field of psycho-analysis and ethnography. This book is of incredible value for people interested in understanding the underpinnings of knowledge and the way in which it is structured, and a good complement would perhaps be the work of Jorge Luis Borges, or even Gilles Deleuze who was a friend with similar objectives to Michel Foucault. Deleuze's texts, written with Felix Guattari, "Capitalism and Schizophrenia" are further insights into problems in scholarship, knowledge structuring, etc.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing filosofy for the minds that wonders, 21 April 2012
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S. Ankergaard (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Order of Things: Archaeology of the Human Sciences (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
This book is a must read for anyone whos mind wonders about how their mind wonders. it is not an easy read, but it is worth the effort.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars !!!, 11 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Order of Things: Archaeology of the Human Sciences (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
The order came earlier in perfect condition. I am very happy with the purchase. 10 from 10. And the book is definitely 'must have' for people interested in International Relations and Politics !!!
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2 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Look inside for the Preface., 28 Dec 2009
This review is from: The Order of Things: Archaeology of the Human Sciences (Routledge Classics) (Paperback)
The book is very clearly framed at the outset in a very clear Preface. As a fairly canonical text, it hardly needs describing or reviewing.
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